A top PlayStation boss has spoken out to defend the recent PlayStation Plus price increase and explain why the company does not bring its games to PlayStation Plus at launch like Microsoft does through Xbox Game Pass. Speaking to Barron’s, PlayStation senior vice president Eric Lempel was asked to justify the recent PS Plus price increase, which saw the Premium tier go up by $40.
Lempel said, “Like practically everything else in the world, we have to look at our pricing and we have to adjust to market conditions.” The executive added, “We want to make PlayStation Plus great. With our reboot last year and introducing the tier system, a lot of consumers have recognized that there’s a lot of value in PlayStation 5.”
Lempel further stated that Sony had not previously raised prices for 85% of the world in “many years,” which is a contrast from other subscription services that regularly raise prices. Sony previously raised PS Plus prices in 2017.
The new PS Plus price increases were announced in August this year. In terms of new features coming to the service, Sony just announced a movie catalog and will add PS5 game-streaming soon. Microsoft raised Xbox Game Pass prices in July. In the wider entertainment space, Apple TV+, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and many others have raised subscription prices in the past year.
Also in the Barron’s interview, Lempel was asked for his thoughts on Xbox Game Pass, and specifically how the company launches its first-party games into the catalog. Sony does not do this with PlayStation Plus. Lempel said PlayStation Plus is “very different” from Game Pass, but he wouldn’t be drawn into talking about launching first-party PlayStation games on PS Plus.
“It comes down to what you’re going to get in the service in terms of the type of game and the quality of games. I can’t comment on what the competition is doing. But with us, we feel we’re offering a great curated catalog of games, as well as other features and services with PlayStation Plus,” he said. “It’s a very different offering, but it’s one that resonated with consumers. Since we introduced the tiers, we’ve seen a third of the Plus user base opt for the upper two tiers, which was more than we had expected.”
In 2022, outgoing PlayStation boss Jim Ryan said Sony does not put new games on PS Plus because the “virtuous cycle” of investment that leads to commercial payoff would be significantly derailed if Sony were to take that approach.